The Priory Hotel offers one-of-a-kind experience

PHG-PRIORY-SIGNMany thanks to Neil Strebig of The Northside Chronicle in Pittsburgh for this wonderful article we set up for our client The Priory Hotel. This article pretty much covers all that we advise to our clients to be successful to help them to profitable build sales.

In short, The Priory Hospitality Group is successful due to:

  1. Ethical, moral and inspiring leadership
  2. Developing committed and quality team members
  3. Giving back/being part of the fabric of its community and industry
  4. Tireless innovation and improvement
  5. Providing a unique, valued experience

And, we’re proud of our 10+ year partnership with the Priory Hospitality Group.

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Pittsburgh Brewing Marketer of the Year

Pittsburgh-brewing-brandmill-iron-city-marketing-awardBrandMill’s marketing partnership with Pittsburgh Brewing Company (brewers of Iron City Beer) helped earn the iconic brand its first Marketer of the Year Award (Consumer Products) from the Pittsburgh American Marketing Association. In BrandMill’s 11-year history, the Pittsburgh marketing firm has earned four Marketer of the Year and one Grand Marketer of the Year Award (performance-based) for its clients!


BUILD TRUST, IMPROVE PRODUCT AND INNOVATE
For the past decade and more, Pittsburgh Brewing Company has undergone multiple ownership changes, bankruptcy and moved its brewing operations 60 miles outside of Pittsburgh to City Brewing in  Latrobe, PA generating a ton of negative feelings and record low sales over many years for this historic Pittsburgh based brand established in 1861.

PITTSBURGH-BREWING-PIRATES-LANDING-BRANDMILLHowever, new Pittsburgh Brewing CEO Brian Walsh felt the time was right to drive favorable awareness about the brand because through his team’s hard work, relationships had been positively re- established with its wholesaler and distributor networks (10+ new sales people on the street vs. 1-2 over the past few years); the new contracted brewery operator was producing a higher quality consistent product (due to more modern equipment); relationships with Pittsburgh’s sports teams (Pirates, Steelers, Penguins) had been reignited and the brand was about to launch a new “craft” line under the name of Block House Brewing.

PITTSBURGH-BREWING-PIRATE-CAN-PRESS-KIT-BRANDMILLMARKETING COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY
With a low, limited budget, BrandMill was charged to create a low cost/high impact “WOW” Communications Strategy to excite the media and regional beer drinkers and to show that Pittsburgh Brewing was here to stay and getting better. Pittsburgh Brewing wanted to demonstrate (offer proof) to its customers and prospective/lapsed customers that they should be proud to know that the brand was back to its exciting innovative times and wanted to re-earn its trust as the favorite beer of Pittsburgh Nation. One press announcement would not suffice and a flurry of media executions was required.

THE FOUNDATIONAL IDEA – PITTSBURGH BREWING COMPANY’S PRESS KIT PLATFORM
BrandMill decided that Pittsburgh Brewing needed a “Press Kit Platform” to communicate and integrate its multiple messages and created a low cost 4X-hit Press Kit Platform. All targeted Pittsburgh Regional Media would receive low cost/high impact (size, color, content) press kits (4x – repeatedly – over 4 consecutive months) to guarantee readership, interest, curiosity, follow-up and coverage.

PITTSBURGH-BLOCK-HOUSE-BREWING-PUMPKIN-ALE-CHOCOLATE-BOCK-BRANDMILL-PRESS-KITPittsburgh Brewing’s Press Kit Platform enabled it to generate quick and extensive favorable brand awareness throughout Western Pennsylvania about the brand’s new product launches of its Pittsburgh Pirates (baseball team) themed cans; its new Block House Brewing (Craft Entry) Brand (i.e., Pumpkin Ale and Double Chocolate Bock); and, its new Red Hot Iron beer to further extend and enhance its brand recognition of the favorite beer of Pittsburgh Nation!


LOW COST, LOW TECH, HIGH IMPACT IDEA
The uniqueness of this Media Kit/s (platform) is that it’s an ‘old school’ low cost and high impact effort wrapped inside a unique platform of four consecutive new brand launches.

BrandMill used common plastic and cardboard mailing tubes to safely transport glass bottles of beer along with a press release and related elements (mnemonic devices) to the production of each beer brand – i.e., themed Pirates cans, Pumpkin Spice candle and Blockhouse key to “unlock the flavor of the Pumpkin Spice brand, and Chocolates and Chocolate scented candle for the Double Chocolate Bock and Red Hot candies for the Red Hot Iron brand.The press kit platform demonstrates to the media the care and seriousness that Pittsburgh Brewing is taking with its announcements – a flurry of positive, exciting and innovative news that the media needs to take notice, because their readers/viewers/listeners will be greatly interested.

 

PITTSBURGH-BREWING-RED-HOT-IRON-BRANDMILL-PRESS-KITFLAWLESS TECHNICAL EXECUTION
The color, graphics, messaging and “surprise and delight’ contents of the Press Kit Platform set it apart from all other communications pieces the media typically receive such as a boring, 1-D press release. The unique sizes of the mailing tubes demands that the recipient open it and discover what’s inside. And, the media thought the effort was clever, fun and interesting and drove their interest in our Pittsburgh Brewing’s NEW NEWS!

 

CAMPAIGN RESULTS
Pittsburgh Brewing’s Press Kit Platform led customers to basically say that, “Wow, it’s great so see Pittsburgh Brewing is back to doing exciting things – I can’t wait to see what’s up next!”

PITTSBURGH-BREWING-MEDIA-TOUR-BRANDMILL

Pittsburgh Brewing earned tremendous regional press coverage from both Print and Broadcast channels. Pittsburgh Brewing’s CEO was interviewed extensively on local business talk shows via Pittsburgh’s CBS and NBC affiliates) channels. Pittsburgh Brewing’s Social Media channels (primarily Facebook) surged to improved performance/traffic by 40%+ with a tremendous, enthusiastic response and without broadcast or print advertising support!Pittsburgh Brewing’s Press Kit Platform helped it to increase its sales throughout Q2-Q3 while the major American Style Lager brands (Budweiser, Coors, Miller) earned negative sales for the same time period throughout the region. In fact, its new Block House Brewing Pumpkin Ale brand sold out in record time!
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Pitttsburgh Post-Gazette Features Shatterproof

Shatterproof-pittsburgh-logoMany thanks to Brian O’Neill of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, for this great column we earned for our client Shatterproof, founder Gary Mendell and the upcoming June 25th Pittsburgh Shatterproof Challenge event at the Westin Convention Center Hotel.

We’re proud to report that the media coverage our BrandMill Public Relations team earned for Shatterproof both in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and on KDKA-TV’s Pittsburgh Today LIVE Show has helped sell-out all rappelling slots!

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Shatterproof Pittsburgh Stronger Than Addiction

Please join our friends at Shatterproof.org on Wednesday, June 25 at the Westin Convention Center Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh, to raise awareness and funds for research, prevention and support of those afflicted with Drug and Alcohol Addiction.

Shatterproof-Pittsburgh-PasadenaSponsor or rappel 26 stories down the side of the Westin!

Rappel times are going fast – hurry to sign up today for the Pittsburgh event here.

Here’s an interview our BrandMill Public Relations team coordinated yesterday for founder Gary Mendell on KDKA-TV’s Pittsburgh Today LIVE.

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Idlewild & SoakZone Opens 137th Season with Daniel Tiger

idlewild-daniel-tiger-wtae-pittsburghHere’s a nice PR piece we earned for one of our favorite clients and places – Idlewild & SoakZone – which recently appeared on Pittsburgh’s ABC Affiliate WTAE-TV.

The Park’s coverage discusses the highlights of its 137th season, its 4th consecutive Golden Ticket Award for being recognized as the Best Kids Park in the World by the readers of Amusement Today Magazine. And, a new Daniel Tiger Meet & Greet attraction – be sure to check out the Park this season – http://www.idlewild.com/

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BrandMill Hits 2 PR Homers at PNC Park

PRSA-Pittsburgh-Best-brandmillAt the annual Public Relations Society of America’s Renaissance Awards ceremony held in Pittsburgh at PNC Park last Monday night, BrandMill won two First Place Awards for Idlewild & SoakZone and the Priory Hospitality Group. It’s our 6th award in 5 years.

Thanks to a great team – Steve Wayhart, Nina Midgley, John Graf (Priory Client/Friend) and Amber Walker.

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How Do You Do Hallowboo

Idlewild hallowboo (3)Here’s a great interview we scored on KDKA-TVs Pittsburgh Today LIVE Show featuring Idlewild & SoakZone Spokesperson Jeff Croushore talking about their 9th Annual Hallowboo this weekend and every weekend this month (Oct. 5-6, 12-13, 19-20, & 26-27). Operating Hours: Noon – 6:00 PM. (Gates open at 11:30 AM).

It’s the Idlewild you know and love with a FUN, family-oriented, Happy Halloween twist! Enjoy the beautiful fall foliage of Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands and the rides and attractions of Olde Idlewild, Jumpin’ Jungle, Hootin’ Holler, Raccoon Lagoon, and Story Book Forest.

We’re proud to say that for 10 seasons of summer fun, we’ve provided marketing communications and public relations services for our good friends at Idlewild & SoakZone – the best amusement park for children in the world per Amusement Today Magazine for four years in a row!

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Good Luck Run Shadyside

run_shadyside_boys_girls_clubGood luck to all the runners and volunteers at today’s 8th Annual Run Shadyside (5K Run and 1 Mile family Fun Walk) – sponsored by the Shadyside Chamber of Commerce – and benefiting the Boys & Girls Club of Pittsburgh.

We were happy and honored to lead the race publicity efforts and for scoring a television interview for race Co-Chair Lara Bruhn on KDKA-TVs Pittsburgh Today LIVE Show.

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BrandMill Wins First Place PRSA Award

A few weeks ago, at the Public Relations Society of America Renaissance Awards ceremony on Pittsburgh, our new Engagement Manager Amber Walker and I received a first place Renaissance award for ‘Best Press Kit’ – and placed third for ‘Best in Show’ – for Idlewild & SoakZone’s 135th season opening.

Having a great client like Idlewild who challenges, supports and agrees to ideas helps a ton to create a winning marketing ideas.

And, we’re always amazed to discover that so many brands fail to see the positive light within themselves to amplify and promote.

This isn’t the first time that Idlewild & SoakZone’s press kits have earned industry recognition, we won a few years back too.

If you’re doing ‘remark’able things and want people to make positive remarks about your brand, consider creating an award winning press kit to amplify
your good news! Here’s how!

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15 Marketing Lessons of St. Patrick’s Day

As a 50 percenter of Irish blood and a serial marketing professional, I thought I’d offer you dear reader, my 15 Marketing Lessons of St. Patrick’s Day to help you find your little pot ‘o gold at the end of a rainbow!

And, I’ll offer them quickly because I shouldn’t even be working this hard today as I’m 17 days away from – and preparing for – St. Patrick’s Day which is one of my many “high holy days” – and there’s a Guinness pint with my name of it at my favorite Pittsburgh Irish pub (Riley’s Pour House) and it’s getting warm! So here you go!

1. Green Marketing Lesson One – Making Money. Always keep money (making it or saving it) front and center of any marketing campaign. If you know anything about the Irish (and I do growing up in a large extended family), the majority have experienced challenging economic times and know the value of a dollar. So, incorporating zero based budgeting into your marketing processes will help you become more creative and help you do a lot more for less. 

2. Green Marketing Lesson Two – Sustainability. These days when you hear brands talk about sustainability, it’s related to the environment, but the basic pure definition of sustainability is “the capacity to endure.” Using the same color in your marketing communications reinforces your brand, makes your marketing work harder for you and enables your marketing to endure.

3. Green Marketing Lesson Two – Color. Design and color can help you communicate a great deal. Red – hot, stop; Blue – cool. etc., Keep in mind that all colors also come in a great deal of shades so don’t be boring and predictable.  Green has about 50 unique shades.

4. Create Multi-Sensory Emotional Appeals (e.g., appeal to people’s five senses of sight, sound, touch, taste, smell). In a prior post about, “Marketing with Sound,” I discussed the awesome power of sound, but you should also consider all of the ways you can appeal to your customer’s five senses. St. Patrick’s Day appeals them all with color, strong visuals of parades, people having fun; taste of ethnic foods like corned beef and cabbage and drink (pints of Guinness and shots of Jameson) etc.,

5. Appeal to One’s Ethnic Heritage. There’s nothing wrong with appealing to people’s ethnic heritage – net, different strokes for different folks.  In fact, it’s a growing and popular strategy due to our mobile society, immigration, single parent households etc.

Some of this strategy’s keys to success include knowing your market well, being aware of unique cultural nuances, being respectful etc.  Disney’s Epcot Theme Park’s World Showcase is a great example of ethnic marketing, but Denny’s Restaurants’ old Pancake promotion is not.

6. Be Inclusive with Your Marketing. As much of an Irish heritage appeal the holiday provides, St. Patrick’s Day is all-inclusive and welcomes everyone to celebrate – everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!

7. Special Event/Thematic/Celebration/Holiday Marketing. Giving a unique thematic association to your marketing messages makes it easier for your customers to understand you and more immediately recognize you too. Tie-ing in to a major holiday celebration gives your promotion authenticity and a “reason why” you’re holding a sales event.

8. Limited Time Appeal.
Having a hard date against a campaign creates urgency, excitement and traffic. Pretty obvious statement, but many marketers leave far too many campaigns without a clear end date and a sense of urgent appeal.

9. Spokesperson/figurehead/celebrity/image appeal. Having a Saint as your celebrity figurehead ain’t too shabby, but it’s the consistency of using the same appealing celebrity with a unique story is what works.

10. Iconic Marketing – Shamrock – brand, sell, profit. Mickey Mouse’s Ears, Ronald McDonald’s big red shoes, McDonald’s Arches and more.

Shamrocks do the same for today’s holiday – it’s the day’s badge of honor and identification. What’s your badge ID?

11. Rule of Threes. Legend has it that St. Patrick used the common Shamrock to teach the Celtic Pagans about the unique Holy Trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – 3 in 1 Godhead.

However, the “rule of three” symbolism in the good man’s teaching is relevant today as well because people’s minds are noisy and limited. Using the rule of three enables you to get them to remember you and buy-in a presentation or product mix selection. Small, medium, large; gold, silver, bronze; 3 bears; 3 blind mice; 3 Stooges (see more examples/proof here) – trust me – the rule of three rocks.

12. Be Positive. You won’t find a more positive group of people that the Irish. Despite all of their “Troubles” who else tells you that you can find a pot ‘o gold at the end of a rainbow? At Pittsburgh’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade this past Saturday, people throughout the day referred to the cold constant rain as nothing more, “a little Irish mist!”

13. Be Nice. You’d be hard pressed to find a nicer bunch of people than the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day too.

14. Have fun and don’t take yourself so seriously. In this age of “political correctness” the Irish are for the most part a happy and fun bunch and most Irish demeaning jokes bounce of them like water on a duck.

15. Plan Your Luck by Working Hard. In my opinion, “the luck of the Irish” is based on hard work – simple as that. You’ve probably heard the saying, the harder you work the luckier you get!” Well, its true. The majority of Irish are no strangers to hard work and I believe – all things being equal – people that work harder and smarter than their peers will meet with more profitable success in a shorter period of time.

Got to run, my pint is getting warm.

Slan (Gaelic for “farewell for now”)!

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